United Nations at the weekend said eradicating world hunger sustainably by 2030 will require an estimated additional $267 billion per year on average for investments in rural and urban areas and in social protection, so that poor people have access to food and improve their livelihoods.
According to a new UN report, this would average $160 annually for each person living in extreme poverty over the 15 year period.
The report, prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO; International Fund for Agriculture Development, IFAD and the World Food Programme, WFP was presented in Rome on Friday ahead of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 13 – 16.
It noted that despite the progress made in recent decades, today nearly 800 million people, most of them in rural areas, still do not have enough food to eat.
It said eliminating chronic undernourishment by 2030 is a key element of the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the new post-2015 agenda to be adopted by the international community later this year.
The report also added that this was at the heart of the Zero Hunger Challenge promoted by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.
It quoted the FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva as saying that “the message of the report is clear: if we adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach, by 2030, we would still have more than 650 million people suffering from hunger.
“This is why we are championing an approach that combines social protection with additional targeted investments in rural development, agriculture and urban areas that will chiefly benefit the poor”, he said.
Graziano da Silva added, “Our report estimates that this will require a total investment of some US$267 billion per year over the next 15 years. Given that this is more or less equivalent to 0.3 percent of the global GDP, I personally think it is a relatively small price to pay to end hunger”.
Also, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze, “this report helps us to see the magnitude of the challenge ahead of us, but we believe that we won’t see gains in reducing poverty and hunger unless we seriously invest in rural people”.
“Given the right kind of tools and resources, small-scale agricultural producers and rural entrepreneurs can transform struggling communities into thriving places”, he added.
On his part, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said, “We need a dramatic shift in thinking to help the world’s poorest break the cycle of hunger and poverty by 2030. We cannot allow them to be left behind”.
“We must invest in the most vulnerable and ensure that they have the tools they need not only to overcome hunger, but to enhance their resources and capabilities”, Cousin said.
The report noted how the international community needs to build on the successful experiences of some countries that have effectively used a combination of investment and social protection to combat hunger and poverty in rural and urban areas.
In an advocacy note accompanying the report, the FAO, IFAD and WFP chiefs also noted that the Addis Ababa conference seeks to ensure that all countries, especially developing countries, have the means to implement national policies and programmes to achieve their development objectives, including the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the report, a “business as usual” approach would still leave some 650 million people hungry in 2030.
It contrasts; it said this, with a combined social protection and investment scenario whereby public funded transfers will be used to lift people out of chronic hunger by ensuring that they reach a US$1.25/day income which corresponds to the World Bank-determined poverty line level.